News update:Mar 9, 2016

Hong Kong culls 20,000 chickens amid bird flu fears

Hong Kong has culled around 20,000 chickens following the discovery of H7N9 in poultry imported from mainland China.

All chickens at the wholesale market where the positive test took place were to be destroyed, the government said. A ban has also been placed on the import of live chickens from the mainland for three weeks.

Hong Kong's Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said in a statement that Cheung Sha Wan market - the territory's only wholesale poultry market - would be closed for 21 days for disinfection.

Local farms have also been told to suspend sending chickens to the wholesale market. Officials will "inspect all the local chicken farms and collect more samples for testing to ensure that local farms are not affected by H7 avian influenza", he said.

This is first mass cull of live poultry in three years in Hong Kong which last culled chickens and banned imports in December 2011, over the H5N1 bird flu virus.

In mainland China, where most of the recent cases of H7N9 have been reported amongst humans, state media said live poultry trading had been halted in three cities in Zhejiang province. 12 people have died from H7N9 this month, having made the jump from infecting domestic chickens and ducks to infecting people in early 2013.

Shanghai would also halt live poultry trading from 31 January for three months, state media said.

World Poultry

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